Saturday, March 31, 2012

Late-Blogging Priesthood Session April 2012

I really did try to log on to the wireless in the chapel but it didn't seem to be working. Maybe that was intentional. I don't know, but a lot of people seemed to be tweeting or playing Angry Birds or something.

I was wrong because there wasn't any mention of Scouting at all. The anniversary is actually 2013, so I hope the BSA visitors found it interesting. Elder Bednar's talk about his Catholic dad must have been kind of interesting for our Catholic friend in attendance, but I'd probably better get to the notes in context.

Live-Blogging April 2012 LDS Conference - Saturday Afternoon

Here we go again! I had some lunch - crackers and tuna and did my Saturday cleaning. My wife went shopping again and cleaned up on chocolate chips. My BYU daughter woke up from her nap in my big chair, so I got it back. We have limited seating space in the family room as my 15-year-old boy is lying, stretched-out on the couch and we really can't complain because he went to the doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with walking pneumonia! He has his germ mask so we can hope it doesn't spread.

Keep clicking for my updates, but you don't have to rely on me, conference is better direct at this link.

Live-Blogging April 2012 LDS Conference - Saturday A.M.

We're settled in. I was up early enough to transcribe a few pages of 2nd-Great-Grandpa Wood's journal, then the neighbor called. My wife, bless her (!?), had mentioned to a sister of an older couple I home teach that we needed to get our small garden plot roto-tilled and she offered up her husband to teach my 18-year-old boy who had helped on his roof this last summer. But the neighbor called me this morning and not sure whether he really wanted my boy on his machine, I said I was happy to borrow it and get it done this morning before conference. So, I went over there and he showed me the basics on the old, large-size tiller and I rolled it over and got it done. It was sort of like wrestling an ox. Well, I haven't ever done that, but I was looking for some pioneer analogy.

So having done my exercise, good turn, and "honey-do" task to the point of my wife actually apologizing for getting me into it (and I was gracious and didn't complain), I am finally in the big chair to watch conference.

Keep clicking for my updates, but you don't have to rely on me, conference is better direct at this link.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Merry Conference Eve!

Tomorrow is a Saturday to sit back, listen, take notes, and amazingly share them with the world. The church is even encouraging this. So, here we are. [You can always find conference at this link.]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fanfare for the Young Man

Tragedy hit Viewmont High School students last night as my two youngest boys reported to their mom and me by bits and pieces from phone texts, social media, and news reports that one of their fellow band members, Andrew Tolman, had been killed in inexplicable traffic accident. You can read the report from the Deseret News here.

The tragedy is much worse for Andrew's family. And our hearts break for them. Our family prayers last night included them and a plea that we all be blessed with greater love and care for those around us because life is so very fragile.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eyes on the Temple, from Prison

Coming across this in the transcription of 2nd Great Grandpa George C. Wood's prison journal this morning, I just had to share:
[February] 14, [1887] I dreamed I was on the cars going some where don’t know where, I thought it was very foggy as I was coming near the land Bountiful. Every little while the fog would break away and I could see a large building that looked like a temple
I wonder if he saw in his cold February dream something like this:

Bountiful, Utah Temple

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (for Genealogists)

Annunciation, Dante Gabriel Rosetti,1850 
It's important to understand a little history of the religious calendar to navigate through family history research.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Save This Time Takes Six of Nine

The non-radical John Roberts
Chief Justice Roberts is my friend. It's not just because he doesn't creep me out nearly as much as Scalia, Thomas, and Alito do. It's probably because he is a more traditional, solid conservative in the institutional and political sense, not just judicial, and will likely not overturn the ACA (AKA - "Obamacare") in any radical way.

I still wonder if the Chief Justice might have had a little talk with Justice Alito about his injudicious jumping at the President's bait on Citizens United in the 2010 State of the Union Address. True Conservatives preserve the status quo and try to avoid causing scenes. Right now, the status quo is President Obama and the American People with health care in their pocket.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

City Creek Opens

It takes a market.

You have to admire the faith in markets to build the largest retail commercial complex to open in the United States this year in the midst of the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression. There must have been some inspiration to have plans in place and build while the economy was down, saving costs while pumping money into the local construction industry and connected businesses. And now the successful opening comes just as our slow recovery climbs into a brighter Spring.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's Not Because Mitt's Mormon

KSL in Salt Lake City reported on's founder's view that while still the inevitable Republican nominee (as this blogger has always said), Romney is limping to the finish line of the nomination by self-inflicted wounds. His religion may play a part, but Romney is his own worst enemy for his insincerity and inability to connect with the average voter (particularly, the average base-voter of the Republican party).

I think that part of this is Romney's Mormonism, but in a very odd way. Romney at his core is Mormon. His faith and family are the most important things in his life. And in Mormonism those are practically the same thing. Romney, to his credit, does not want to reveal those most deeply held and private aspects of his life. So he hides behind his corporate money-making professionalism. That is all real too, and could even be somewhat helpful in the managerial role required as president, but his self-marketing campaign smacks of insincerity reminding us of the old question about Nixon, "Would you buy a used car from this man?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Their Eyes Will Open and They Shall See!

Originally published on the other blog on March 20, 2012 as,
"Their Eyes Will Open and They Shall See!"

A beautiful green churchyard at Saint Faith's, Llanfoist, Monmouthshire. The direct paternal link to my surname lies just a few paces ahead of me and to the left. He rests among the dead. I want to be there on the morning of the resurrection to wake him when his bones put on regenerated and glorious flesh and pure spirit courses through his veins.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Crazy Biden & Mormon Family History

Biden crossing the Delaware
The Atlantic has this great picture which is the sort of political humor I like. It's good-natured, and whatever your political leanings with regard to the Vice President, both right and left can, I think, find this funny. Most political "humor" these days is much more mean-spirited with clear political vendettas to grind - or whatever you're supposed to do with vendettas.

Joe Biden seems to be everybody's favorite crazy uncle - not the scary kind of crazy like the uncle who stalks the Thanksgiving Weekend gun sales at Cabela's and you worry about when he is going to burst and shoot up the neighborhood. Biden is the kind of crazy uncle who says outrageous things, many of which you may find embarrassing, but nobody takes him that seriously. I mean, nobody as far as I know has accused him of being a nazi-communist-Mau-Mau-European-foreign-born-Manchurian-socialist. Well, you get the point.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Orrin's Escape Hatch

My wife went to the Republican caucus last night. There were 178 in attendance at our precinct as opposed to 10 at the Democratic caucus. Now is not the time to talk balancing out the neighborhood a little, but the vast infusion of numbers had its influence to moderate the participants into a rejection of the tea party extremists in favor of our sitting Senator Orrin Hatch.

Tempting as it may be to fall into Monty Python "Silly Party" parlance, Senator Hatch is certainly no moderate. He is clearly conservative. But he is not of the tea party. The slight turn towards the center did not bring the local caucus into the moderate middle, but it did save them from going over the cliff on the far right of the mountain pass.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Polygamy: Historical Context Is Important

Once again, I am only discussing historical plural marriage. I have no desire to defend polygamy since the transition out of the Manifestos of 1890 and 1904. For more background on my ancestor, George C. Wood (1854-1923), imprisoned for three and a half years (1886-1890) for polygamy, see here and here.

In some reading about historical Mormon polygamy, I once came across a reference to my 2nd Great Grandpa Wood and a joke that a bishop in the penitentiary made about George's young and attractive second wife when she appeared upon the wall. I did not keep track of the publication which would not be worthy of mention anyway because the incident was portrayed in a rather salacious tone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Democratic Caucus 2012: A Real Kick!

Well, that was exciting and quick. Done in 45 minutes! And more participants than I've ever seen at a Democratic Caucus in Utah! (Well, I've only been here for four now). In fact, there were more in attendance at Centerville Elementary for our District (West Bountiful to Kaysville) than were at the County Convention two years ago.

My son and his fiancé went with me. My son is registered here in our precinct. His fiancé lives in Salt Lake City so she missed her caucus (sorry, Senator McAdams).

My eldest daughter was texting me that she had sent her husband and stayed home with the boys. We struggled to save a seat as the place filled up. I was pleased that he showed, and in spite of his preference for country music, he participated tonight as a Democrat.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Great and Spacious Politics

I don't really mean any concept of "big tent" politics or Mormonism here. I have another email from my good buddy bro-in-law (AnonymousD) that I got his permission to share. The context is discussing the cultural and political wars. D is less political than I am, but I respect his point. We both even have some sympathy (on rare occasion) for Mitt Romney as he gets it from both the right and the left on his Mormonism.

The context comes from Lehi's Dream found in I Nephi 8 and interpreted in Chapters 11 and 15:

Commanded to Caucus?

Two years ago, the LDS Church came with strong counsel to participate in the local precinct caucuses of the party of our choice.  I was already planning to go as I have in the past, but it was that time two years ago that our precinct, by acclamation (all three of us), sent me to the County Convention and on to the State. It was fun!

While the church has been pushing civic participation a little stronger this year, yesterday it got about as strong as it could be.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Up from Racism: The Revelation on the Priesthood

I deeply regret my past racism and have been in recovery for years now as I try to progress in my understanding of life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As another "eye-witness to history," I went back to check my missionary history of President Kimball's announcement that the Priesthood ban as to men of Black African descent was lifted. The embarrassing part is that my racism is evident along with erroneous speculations about scripture and doctrine that the LDS Church has since disavowed. Most recently, the Church issued this statement:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fighting to Defend Religion

Uh, no thanks.

I will just go ahead and live my faith to the best of my ability regardless of what anybody else thinks or does about it.

This is the reaction I had to an exchange I saw on Facebook (the kind I really dislike because they get the participants absolutely nowhere) in which some were bad-mouthing the woman Rush called even worse names and someone else was trying to defend her. The exchange came down to an accusation from the bad-mouthers that there were evil people out there intentionally and admittedly trying to destroy religion, ours specifically, and we had a duty to "push back" to defend our faith.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Lady Gwladys, Star of Abergavenny

In honor of International Women's Day, I pay tribute to a noble Matriarch, the Lady Gwladys, Star of Abergavenny - "the happy and the faultless." Or, in other words:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Romney Can't Lose for Winning

Still the inevitable Republican nominee. Still the best of the Republican field. Still the most electable against President Obama. And it will be a tough and dirty general election. We can expect Romney's money machine to go all out against the President just as it has been carpet-bombing the newt and Rick. He's been outspending them by the bucketful. And a win is a win. I'm talking total delegates - not the states chalked up. With proportional delegates in many states, Romney has more delegates than all the others put together.

The media wants a horse race. Romney and the Republican powers-that-be would love to be going after President Obama right now. The disturbing personalities of the other candidates won't let them. The Republican base won't let them. The Republican base will not desert the party, they just want to vent against Romney. He's not their kind of guy - but he's not Obama! The vote may be depressed and the President could still lose this if the economic recovery falters or other world events or unforeseen disasters go badly.


As a further exploration of my personality and philosophy through music, and that of Cat Stevens to boot, I share with you one of my favorite songs of all time. It's not one of his big hits, it just speaks to my soul:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Avoiding Tribalism: Or "Miles" from Nowhere

Maybe I am part of the President's Tribe. I am a government lawyer born just four years before he was. But, I didn't go to Harvard (and was rather annoyed by my law professors who did), never worked as a community organizer (I was an LDS Bishop but that makes me more like the other guy), my father wasn't a polygamist (I have to go back four generations - Mitt, three). I wasn't born of mixed-race parents. And I've only been to the airport in Chicago. I can't figure it out why I would be in his club.

I mean, I do seem to have a lot more in common with the inevitable nominee Romney-- solid LDS background, Mormon Mission to a foreign country, former Bishop, large family, good-looking (well, I try). And I have an old friend who asked me in his Christmas card if my feelings were torn about supporting him because, well, I guess he expected it and knew I had voted for President Obama the first time.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Family Planning for Six Blessings

Heaven knows I have tried to stay out of the culture wars. But whether you blame the President or Limbaugh, it looks like there's incoming on a battlefield that can't be avoided.

Let me just state for the record that it's no accident we have six kids. It was the plan. And they are born three years apart due to the plan. In fact, our second and third were born three years apart on June 12 and June 11 during the time my wife was still teaching school (hint: she was teaching Math and Science). Nobody can plan better than my wife.

Physical Spirituality

Beyond the practical, there's a real physical aspect to Mormon spirituality. My wife and I are just back from a Temple cleaning assignment. We've done these before, although my wife a lot more frequently than I because I'm not so much of a night person. The Bountiful Temple has been closed two weeks for deep cleaning. We were part of the volunteer crew to help put things back together for re-opening next week.

We got on a crew in the laundry and basement. We moved furniture around, vacuumed and I volunteered to sweep and mop in the room behind the dryers. I made the mistake of telling the sister in charge that I had worked as a professional custodian although it was years ago while in high school. I still do a bit at home.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Finding the Lucky Spots

Today, on St. David's Day ( Dydd Gŵyl Dewi!) - by wonderful coincidence - my dad's cousin emailed me with some new family information she discovered that takes us right back to that little parish church in Llanfoist we visited a couple of years ago.

It reminded me of the "lucky" spots we were directed to in the church by our volunteer guide.
Standing on one of the lucky spots. Saint Faith's Parish Church, Llanfoist, Monmouthshire